‘an essential allegory’

the brothers

Paul Kattenburg, State Department – excerpt from The Brothers, “A Matchless Interplay of Ruthlessness and Guile” by Stephen Kinzer
“Few if any policy practitioners in Washington or among American representatives in Asia would dare to say in 1950, for example, when Ho Chi Minh was beginning to defeat the French: ‘Ho is certainly a Communist, but he has great appeal; he is regarded as a champion of nationalism and of anti-colonialism; he is forging an unbreakable bond with his people; he will win his revolutionary struggle regardless of the odds, for we can see, hear, and sense that the masses of the people support him and not the French or their puppets.’ Stilling or silencing voices such as these, and hearing instead only those who said, ‘Ho is a Communist, therefore he cannot really represent the aspirations of his people, and moreover they regard him as a tool of Russia or China,’ led American leaders—and people was well—into an anti-Communist climate of deafness and blindness. . . . It is one of the most dangerous, in fact potentially suicidal, things a great nation can do in world affairs: to cut off its eyes and ears, to castrate its analytic capacity, to shut itself off from the truth because of blind prejudice and a misguided dispensation of good and evil.”


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